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The evolving CIO agenda

Divina Paredes | Sept. 30, 2014
As technology and market changes surge, the CIO has become more critical than ever to an organisation's success. Speakers at this year's CIO100 event highlight steps to take in this shifting environment.

Data is the single most important and valuable asset of any business, notes Plan B's Forrester.

In the Industrial Age, he says, the most valuable companies were those with significant physical assets.

"Things are different in the Information Age," he declares. The value of intangible assets has grown significantly in the past 40 years from less than 20 per cent of a company's value in 1975 to more than 80 per cent today.

"Data is intangible and the foundation of the growth in the value of intangible assets," he states. "It is unique and irreplaceable. If you lose your laptop you can go to Noel Leeming and buy a new one. Unfortunately, it is not the same for data."

The CEO, therefore, is the custodian of a business's assets, so responsibility for protecting its most valuable asset -- data -- starts with the head of the company. "They need to lead from the front," Forrester says.

For CIOs, he says, it is important to let the business decide what risk they are willing to take rather than IT becoming the scapegoat.

"You can't back up everything," he states. "Make sure you let the business decide what is important and what is not, what to back up and what to leave out.

"Don't let a member of your team decide because if that happens to be the secret formula for Coca Cola, you are in trouble."

It is also important to choose your partners well for data management, he says. "You wouldn't fly on a plane that was serviced by a part-time mechanic. So why trust a partner with backing up your most valuable asset?"

Be the CEO of your brand
Gartner's Darbyshire calls on CIOs to take stock of their personal brand.

"We are CEOs of our own companies," says Darbyshire, echoing the words of Tom Peters, who wrote: "To be in the business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand called 'You'."

But why do it? "CEOs expect IT to power the business into new markets and digital channels," says Darbyshire. "To be successful in this, CIOs must build a strong personal and department brand, as credible providers of both core IT services and digital business solutions."

The process, takes time, effort, investment, and focus to construct, he says.

One place to start is to do a search of your big data footprint, says Darbyshire, who was a CIO before joining Gartner. "Google yourself, sum up your digital life. What does it say?"

Darbyshire says a personal brand has five elements:

" Purpose -- why people follow you

" Social style -- the way people see you


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